The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James; some favorite quotes so far, which pertain to Isabel. But also, in some respects, to me.

“It is not absolutely necessary to suffer; we were not made for that.”

“Like the majority of American girls, Isabel had been encouraged to express herself; her remarks had been attended to; she had been expected to have emotions and opinions. Many of her opinions had doubtless but a slender value…”

“But for me there are only two classes: the people I trust, and the people I don’t.”

“Her desire to think well of herself always needed to be supported by proof; though it is possible that this fact is not the sign of a milder egotism.”

“I don’t want to begin life by marrying. There are other things a woman can do.”

“She had moreover a great fondness for intervals of solitude, and since her arrival in England it had been but scantily gratified. It was a luxury she could always comand at home, and she had missed it.”

“I don’t need the aid of a clever man to teach me how to live,” said Isabel. “I can find it out for myself.”

“…she had tasted of the delight, if not of battle, at least of victory; she had done what she preferred.”

“The love of knowledge coexisted in her mind with a still tenderer love of ignorance.”

I am only on page 205 of 584, but these little gleanings are giving me a picture of Isabel, and a foretaste of what might come with her naive and youthful perspective. Remember you are welcome to join several of us as we read The Portrait of A Lady this February.